Not under foreign skies
Nor under foreign wings protected -
I shared all this with my own people
There, where misfortune had abandoned us.
Everything’s looted, betrayed and traded,
black death’s wing’s overhead.
Everything’s eaten by hunger, unsated,
so why does a light shine ahead?
I taught myself to live simply and wisely,
to look at the sky and pray to God,
and to wander long before evening
to tire my superfluous worries.
Celebrate our anniversary – can’t you see
tonight the snowy night of our first winter
comes back again in every road and tree -
that winter night of diamantine splendour.
You will hear thunder and remember me,
And think: she wanted storms. The rim
Of the sky will be the colour of hard crimson,
And your heart, as it was then, will be on fire.
Do not cry for me, Mother, seeing me in the grave.
This greatest hour was hallowed and thandered
For Osip Mandelstam
And the town is frozen solid in a vice,
Trees, walls, snow, beneath a glass.
I wrung my hands under my dark veil. . .
"Why are you pale, what makes you reckless?"
-- Because I have made my loved one drunk
with an astringent sadness.
Memory of sun seeps from the heart.
Grass grows yellower.
Faintly if at all the early snowflakes
I don't know if you're alive or dead.
Can you on earth be sought,
Or only when the sunsets fade
Be mourned serenely in my thought?